Campaigners fighting to halt “unfair” health assessments, which have been linked to at least six suicides in the UK, staged a demonstration in Preston.
The protest was part of a nationwide day of action against the Government’s use of a private French healthcare firm to rule on whether disabled people are fit for work.
Demonstrators claim Atos, which carries out some assessments at its Ringway offices in Preston, has been “over zealous” in its health checks, resulting in thousands being stripped of their benefits.
“The assessment system is very unfair,” said one of the protestors David Eaton. “They are geared to people being passed fit for work when, clearly, many of them aren’t. The Government brought Atos in and they are the ones we are aiming this protest at. We want to make it clear to them that we know what has been going on and that people have died as a result of the stress they have been put under by all this.”
Demonstrators gathered outside more than 100 Atos centres across Britain in an attempt to highlight the growing numbers of benefit claimants being reassessed as fit and thus losing their cash entitlements.
David Eaton added: “The Government is leaving disabled people without a lifeline. Some have committed suicide and it’s just horrific. We just want to make people aware of what is going on and hopefully cause a rethink.”